The Cincinnati Bengals have released Giovani Bernard, and they will need to replace the former second-round pick out of North Carolina.
Chad Reuter of NFL.com came up with a solution, which involved drafting another running back out of North Carolina in the second round.
Reuter worked out the best possible picks for each team in the first two rounds of the 2021 draft. He listed Penei Sewell as the Bengals’ pick for the first round, which is a widespread opinion.
However, his second round pick for the Bengals is new.
Reuter says the Bengals’ ideal pick in the second round is Javonte Williams.
Here’s what he said:
Round 1: No. 5 overall — Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Round 2: No. 38 overall — Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
Joe Burrow’s season-ending injury occurred in the pocket when he was hit by one defender coming in high and another low. The team must improve its offensive line so that doesn’t happen again. Sewell can dominate at left tackle, former first-round pick Jonah Williams can play right tackle (where he started for two years at Alabama) and veteran acquisition Riley Reiff has experience at guard. Starting running back Joe Mixon also fought injuries in 2020, and the team recently released veteran Giovani Bernard. Williams’ powerful running style, therefore, will be on the Bengals’ radar at No. 38.
While Williams is a talented back, and he will make a great professional football player, the Bengals will probably not pick a running back in the second round.
Despite having released Bernard, the Bengals have just re-signed Samaje Perine, who also has a “powerful running style” that Mixon doesn’t provide. They also might want to see what Trayveon Williams can do.
The Bengals have plenty of needs that should be prioritized over running back in the early rounds, like wide receiver, defensive line, and even if they draft Sewell in the first round, offensive line still might not be off the table in the second round.